U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border & Maritime Security, today made the following comments upon the passage of the fiscal year 2013 Homeland Security Appropriations bill by the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill strengthens America's homeland security efforts while at the same time reducing government spending. Rep. Miller said:
"Among the enumerated powers of the Constitution, providing for the common defense is, in my mind, the most important responsibility of this Congress. A key part of the common defense is ensuring that we secure the nation's borders and this appropriations bill provides the critical funding necessary to meet that mission.
"The funding in this bill prioritizes funding for security operations conducted by our Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection agents -- men and women who are on the front lines of our fight to secure the borders every single day. They have a demanding task, work in tough conditions, and I want to thank them for their service to this nation. Additionally, the funding in this bill provides for $138 million to complete the deployment of the Secure Communities program which plays an essential role in identifying and removing dangerous criminals from our streets.
"While much of the discussion about border security is often focused on security threats at the southern and northern borders, both at and between the ports of entry, I think it is important to remember that we have a vast maritime border of over 12,000 miles of coastline. The U.S. Coast Guard plays an important role in protecting our ports and shoreline, and I am pleased to see that the Coast Guard's sixth National Security Cutter will be funded in this bill along with the materials for a seventh. Recapitalizing the aging cutter fleet is a priority and this bill goes a long way toward meeting the Coast Guard's needs.
"Every mile of border is different, and requires the right mix of technology, infrastructure, and personnel. The bill we passed today provides the necessary funding to help secure our nation's borders by making smart investments and effectively implementing needed cost savings. The legislation now heads to the U.S. Senate where I hope they will act on this measure in a timely fashion."